Samuel Baldwin Marks Young

Samuel Baldwin Marks Young
General Samuel B. M. Young, official portrait by Marion Potter Sharpe
Born (1840-01-09)January 9, 1840
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Died September 1, 1924(1924-09-01) (aged 84)
Helena, Montana
Buried Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance Union
United States
Service/branch Union Army
United States Army
Years of service 1861–1865
Rank Lieutenant General
Commands held Chief of Staff of the United States Army
Battles/wars American Civil War
Indian Wars
Spanish–American War
Philippine–American War

Samuel Baldwin Marks Young (January 9, 1840 – September 1, 1924) was a United States Army general. He also served as the first president of Army War College between 1902 and 1903. He then served from 1903 until 1904 as the first Chief of Staff of the United States Army.[1]


Young was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to John Young Jr. and Hannah Scott Young. He was educated at Jefferson College (now Washington & Jefferson College) and married Margaret McFadden in 1861.

On the outbreak of the Civil War, he joined the 12th Pennsylvania Infantry in April 1861 as a private. After the expiration of his term he was commissioned captain, 4th Pennsylvania Cavalry in September. He served with distinction in the Army of the Potomac throughout the war, receiving promotion to major in September 1862, to lieutenant colonel in October 1864 and to colonel in December 1864. Young was wounded four times in 1864 and 1865.[2] He served in brigade command in the cavalry corps during the last days of the Appomattox Campaign.[2] He was mustered out of the volunteers on July 1, 1865.[2]

After the war, Young joined the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States—a military society for officers who had served the Union in the Civil War. He was also a member of the Society of the Army of the Potomac.

After the Civil War he rejoined the Regular Army as a first lieutenant in May 1866, and was promoted to captain of the 8th Cavalry in July 1866. On December 11, 1866, President Andrew Johnson nominated Young for appointment to the brevet rank of brigadier general of volunteers, to rank from April 9, 1865, in recognition for his services in the Siege of Petersburg and the Appomattox Campaign. The U.S. Senate confirmed the appointment on February 6, 1867.[3]

Young served with distinction throughout the Indian Wars and was regularly promoted (to major in 1883 and to lieutenant colonel in 1892), rising to the rank of colonel of the 3rd Cavalry in 1897.

On the commencement of hostilities with Spain, he was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers in May 1898. In Cuba during the war, he commanded one of two cavalry brigades that were part of the Cavalry Division under Major General Joseph Wheeler. Young's brigade included Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders, the 1st US Volunteer Cavalry Regiment. In July 1898, after the American victory of the Battle of San Juan Hill, Young assumed command of the Wheeler's Cavalry Division and was made major general of volunteers while he commanded a this same division in Cuba after the Santiago Campaign of the Spanish–American War. That same year, Young became a Veteran Companion of the Missouri Commandery of the Military Order of Foreign Wars.

During the Philippine–American War, he returned to the rank of brigadier general of volunteers and commanded brigades in the Northern Luzon District, of which he was made military governor.

From February 1901 to March 1902, he commanded the military district of California from the Presidio of San Francisco. Under the new General Staff System, he was appointed as the first chief of staff of the General Staff in August 1903, a position he held until retirement in January 1904.[1]

From 1909 to 1910, he was president of the board of inquiry that investigated the alleged riot of black soldiers of the 25th U.S. Infantry at Brownsville, Texas, August 13, 1906, and affirmed the subsequent dishonorable discharge of 159 men by order of President Theodore Roosevelt.

As Acting Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park at Fort Yellowstone in 1897 (after a stint in the same role at Yosemite in 1896) Colonel Young introduced fish conservation measures. In 1907 after his retirement, he was appointed full Superintendent by the Secretary of the Interior. He served as full Superintendent for two years.[4] He died at his house in Helena, Montana, and was honored with a state funeral in Washington, D.C., and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.


Samuel and Margaret Young were the parents of seven children, six daughters and a son: Edith (1865–1940); Burton (called Hannah) (1866–1944); Lillian (1868–1956); Marjorie (1872–1956); Eliza (1880–1883); Ranald Mackenzie (1880–1882); and Elizabeth (1883–1966).[5][6]

In 1886, his daughter Burton (Hannah) married George Windle Read, who attained the rank of major general and was a division and corps commander of the American Expeditionary Force during World War I.[7] Their children included Burton Young Read (1889–1981), a career soldier who served from the early 1900s through World War II before retiring as a colonel,[8][9][10] and George Windle Read, Jr., a career soldier who served in both world wars and attained the rank of lieutenant general as commander of the US Army Armor Center and the Second United States Army.[11][12][13]

In 1886, his daughter Edith became the wife of army officer John Thornton Knight (1861–1930), who attained the rank of brigadier general.[14][15] Their son, John Thornton Knight, Jr. (1894–1989), was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism in action while serving in France during World War I.[16]

In 1901, his daughter Marjorie married army surgeon John Heysham Gibbon, the nephew of Civil War and Indian War commander John Gibbon. John H. and Marjorie Gibbon were the parents of John Heysham Gibbon.[17][18][19]

In 1903, Young's daughter Elizabeth became the wife of Army officer John Robert Rigby Hannay (1875–1938).[20][21][22][23]

In 1913, his daughter Lillian, who had become active in the Christian Science church, married Eugene R. Cox (1856–1921), a Chicago attorney and businessman who later relocated to New York and also played a prominent role in the operations of the Christian Science church.[24]

Dates of rank

No insigniaPrivate25 April 1861Volunteers
Captain6 September 1861Volunteers
Major20 September 1862Volunteers
Lieutenant Colonel1 May 1864Volunteers
Colonel25 June 1864Volunteers
Brevet Brigadier General9 April 1865Volunteers
First Lieutenant11 May 1866Regular Army
Captain28 July 1866Regular Army
Major2 April 1883Regular Army
Lieutenant Colonel16 August 1892Regular Army
Colonel19 June 1897Regular Army
Brigadier General4 May 1898Volunteers
Major General8 July 1898Volunteers
Brigadier General2 January 1900Regular Army
Major General2 February 1901Regular Army
Lieutenant General8 August 1903Regular Army


  1. 1 2 Although other sources claim Young was the 1st Chief of the Staff of the U.S. Army, in reality, the Department of the Army did not come into existence until 1947. In 1903, the U.S. War Department adopted a General Staff organization to which Young was appointed Chief of [General] Staff. Major General Otto L. Nelson, Jr. (1946). National Security and the General Staff. Washington D.C.: Infantry Journal Press. p. 74.
  2. 1 2 3 Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher, Civil War High Commands. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8047-3641-3. p. 585
  3. Eicher, 2001, p. 762
  4. Kiki Leigh Rydell; Mary Shivers Culpin (2006). "Administration in Turmoil-Yellowstone's Management in Question 1907–1916". Managing the Matchless Wonders-History of Administrative Development in Yellowstone National Park, 1872–1965 YCR-CR-2006-03. National Park Service, Yellowstone Center for Resources. pp. 51–74.
  5. McGinness, Samuel Wilson; Ford, Mary Rebecca (1892). McGinness and Scott Families and their Branches. Genealogical Notes. Pittsburgh, PA: Murdoch, Kerr & Co. pp. 191–192.
  6. "Entry for S. B. M. Young family, 1880 United States Federal Census". Provo, UT: LLC. 1880. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
  7. Early Marriages of El Paso County, Texas, Book 1 (1876–1880)
  8. 1910 United States Federal Census, entry for Burton Y. Read
  9. U.S. Army Adjutant General, Official U.S. Army Register, 1946, page 366
  10. California Death Index, 1940–1997, entry for Burton Y. Read
  11. The Monthly Supplement: a Current Biographical Reference Service, published by Who’s Who, Inc., 1944, Volumes 5–6, page 247
  12. Newspaper article, Maj. Gen. G.W. Read is Dead at Capital; World War Officer Succumbs, New York Times, November 7, 1934
  13. U.S. Census entry, 1910, family of George Windle and Burton Young Read
  14. John Thornton Knight at Find A Grave
  15. Edith Young Knight at Find a Grave
  16. "Valor awards for John Thornton Knight , Jr". Retrieved 2017-05-12.
  17. "Married". The Journal of the American Medical Association. Chicago, IL: American Medical Association. 37: 710. September 14, 1901.
  18. Foster, Frank P. (September 7, 1901). "Births, Marriages and Deaths". International Record of Medicine and General Practice Clinics: New York Medical Journal. New York, NY: A. R. Elliott Publishing. 74: 462.
  19. Shumacker, Harris B. (1999). A Dream of the Heart: The Life of John H. Gibbon, Jr., Father of the Heart-lung Machine. McKinleyville, CA: Fithian Press. p. 19.
  20. "Elizabeth W. Young and John R. R. Hannay in District of Columbia, Select Marriages, 1830–1921". Provo, UT: LLC. October 7, 1903. Retrieved January 28, 2016. (Subscription required (help)).
  21. Jenks, J. E. (September 1, 1917). "Personal Matters". Army-Navy-Air Force Register. 62. Washington, DC. p. 273.
  22. John R. R. Hannay at Find A Grave
  23. Elizabeth Wright Young Hannay at Find A Grave
  24. Homans, James E.; Linen, Herbert M. (1922). The Cyclopaedia of American Biography. IX. New York, NY: Press Association Compilers, Inc. pp. 124–125.


  • Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher, Civil War High Commands. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.

Further reading

Military offices
Preceded by
Nelson A. Miles
(Commanding General of the United States Army)
Chief of Staff of the United States Army
Succeeded by
Adna Chaffee
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